OsteoCool™ non-invasive surgery turns up the heat on spinal tumors

OsteoCool™* non-invasive surgery turns up the heat on spinal tumors

Leo’s back pain had become unbearable. At age 61, he’d struggled with many health challenges. But none had been as debilitating as the tumor lodged in his spine that fractured his L3 vertebrae.

Then Leo learned about a new procedure from his neurosurgeon. Nestor Tomycz, MD, recommended the state-of-the-art procedure, OsteoCool™. It gave Leo immediate relief. A month after the minimally invasive surgery at Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Allegheny General Hospital, Leo’s back has never felt better.

Now he can enjoy spending time with his young grandchildren. Leo is Living Proof of how embracing advancements in medical technology can improve your quality of life.

At the forefront of innovation in western PA

AHN was one of the first health systems in western PA to regularly treat patients using OsteoCool™ technology. Dr. Tomycz began using it soon after it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2016. He’s had success with the procedure throughout the last year.

OsteoCool™ uses radio frequency energy to destroy spinal tumors. At the same time, surgeons perform kyphoplasty surgeries to fill any fractures with a special cement bond.

They complete the entire operation in an hour through 2 small puncture incisions — each less than 1 centimeter long.

“OsteoCool™ is much less invasive than traditional open surgery, which requires removal of the tumor and complex spinal reconstruction surgery,” said Dr. Tomycz. “Instead of trying to remove the tumor, we kill it with heat. This can be done through much smaller incisions with much less blood loss.”

And it allows for a quicker recovery period. Leo spent one night in the hospital, so doctors could watch for infection. He went home the next day.

Good as new

Leo feels grateful he was able to have the OsteoCool™ procedure. “My back is like brand new,” he said. “I’d recommend this surgery to anyone. It’s much better than getting screws and steel rods put in your back.”

Without back pain, Leo can take care of his other medical issues. Once a week he receives chemotherapy to help fight the cancer in his lungs. He already completed the radiation treatments to destroy the cancer in his neck. Leo also battled kidney failure until he was able to get a transplant in 2011. 

But he stays positive with help from his loving family. His wife, two children, and grandchildren provide motivation for him to keep going. He also cherishes his best friend who takes him to his chemotherapy appointments.

“I have a great support team,” said Leo. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

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*OsteoCool™ is a registered trademark of ©2017 Medtronic.